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Liz Pearce
Liz Pearce

LiquidPlanner faces no shortage of competition in the online project management arena. Rivals Clarizen and AtTask have raised more than $50 million to date. And, earlier this week, Bellevue-based Smartsheet pulled in $35 million, at triple the valuation of an earlier round, bringing total funding to $70 million.

Despite those deep-pocketed competitors, LiquidPlanner keeps chugging along. And, today, it is adding a bit more fuel as well, announcing an $8 million venture round led by TVC Capital, and including participation from Seattle angel investors Geoff Entress and Bill Bryant.

“Our space is pretty hot right now,” said Liz Pearce, who was named CEO of LiquidPlanner in 2012. “I feel like it is our turn at bat.”

Pearce said that LiquidPlanner, founded in 2006 by former Expedia vets Charles Seybold and Jason Carlson, has remained the underdog in the market given its relatively modest investment to date.

“That hasn’t stopped us from growing mind share and our user base strongly over the last five years,” she said.

LiquidPlanner’s online tools are now used by more than 2,000 organizations around the world, including customers such as HTCLeapFrogNordstrom and RingCentral.

liquidplanner1LiquidPlanner did not post a profit last year, but it did in 2012 and the company has posted double digit revenue growth. (See earlier guest post from Pearce: You did what? Why we chose debt over venture capital).

LiquidPlanner now employs 45 people, and it plans to grow to about 75 people by the end of the year.

Pearce said that LiquidPlanner is different in that most of its competitors use “Microsoft-style project management.”

“We automate that function by calculating schedules based on priority and best-case, worst-case estimates,” she said. “It all really comes down to automation, basically by dragging and dropping projects, and generating a priority order we recalculate your entire portfolio instantly in the browser.”

That process, she says, allows teams to become adaptive, creating predictability around when projects or products will ship. “That makes them more competitive,” she said.

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